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Dallas Soccer News - Dallas Texans 93 girls, Taylor Grant, Clarissa Wedemeyer, Catherine Meyer

Dallas Texans 93 girls claim National Championship

Published 7/31/2008 2:20:49 PM by staff from dallas
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In a game that was clearly a tale of two halves, Dallas Texans 93 girls overcame the first half lead by So Cal Blues. Goals by Clarissa Wedemeyer and Catherine Meyer made sure that the Kristine Lilly Cup would be in Dallas' hands at the end of the night.  Although the schedule makers for the Nationals did not put Dallas Texans 93 Red and So Cal Blues in the same pool, the U15 Girls National Championship game was something of a rematch since Texans and So Cal Blues had competed and finished tops in the inaugural season of the US Youth Soccer National League.

In the National League the Texans went undefeated while handing So Cal its only loss. The 1:0 score of that game was on the minds of So Cal players as they came out with high energy and played a terrific first half of soccer. They moved the ball about beautifully in a surprisingly mature style of play that utilized both the middle of the field through Haley Rosen and the flanks through Emily Goldstein and Kaylie Davidson. Their offense relied on through balls for Lauren Bohaboy and accurate aerial crosses from Goldstein. Kimberly Marshall contributed long throw-ins that were occasionally as useful as the crosses.

So Cal's workrate and the timing of their strikers were impressive, resulting in a spray of shots that rattled the woodwork of Rose Medina's goal with surprising regularity, creating much anxiety among the Texans' defense and keeping Medina and Ashley Kennedy busy with last-ditch-effort saves and clearances. Despite the clear domination by So Cal Blues, it was the Texans that had the first serious chance in the early going as Kelly Monogue sent in a hard-high shot that seemed to some to bounce off the crossbar and cross the goal-line. The center arbiter disagreed, and the score remained tied.

The torrid pace imposed by So Cal continued,forcing the Texans' coach Shawn Cantrell to bring in Jana Jeffrey in order to weather the storm. Jeffrey combined with Taylor Schneider to push back So Cal's Rosen, Schender's partner in the National Team Camp, and cut off the through passes.  So Cal's coach Randy Dodge responded by introducing into play Gabriella Garcia whose crosses from the right complemented Golstein's from the left, and in the 39th minute, one of those crosses from Garcia met Goldstein's head in the middle of a perfectly  timed leap to finally give So Cal the lead.

The Texans came out of the half-time break as if they had received an injection of energy.  Although they never abandoned their bone-jarringly aggressive and direct style that relies on long distance shooting followed by crashing  into the box, their tackles were crisper, their emotions higher, communication better. The lost balls were retrieved far more quickly than in the first half, and the space between Texans' defense, midfield and strikers became much more compact.

In 59th minute Monogue sent in a cross that So Cal defenders cleared allowing Clarissa Wedemeyer, to touch the ball over to Catherine Meyer who promptly sent it in to knot the game at 1:1.  Only three minutes later, Clarissa Wedemeyer secured the National Championship for her team and a Golden Boot for herself by scoring the winner on a long low hard shot.  For the U15 Girls, the National League had turned to be a pretty reliable predictor of the National Champion, but with so little separating the two teams, it was not easy to explain just what exactly made for two very different halves of the game.  So Cal's Randy Dodge whose heartwarming compassion and consoling skills were on display after the awards ceremony gave a sober assessment of the turnaround.

Dodge said, "We had all of the first half; they had no answer.  We hit the crossbar four times, we hit the post three times; we just didn't capitalize.  They had about four or five goal line scrambles, but they didn't have an answer for us in the first half.  Unfortunately, we basically gave everything in the first half and didn't have the juice or the depth to finish it out in the second half."

The Texans coach Shawn Cantrell pointed to the half-time chat as the turning point of the game, he said, "They were killing us the first half, and that's the worst we've played probably all year, to be honest with you. We didn't have any emotion in the game, maybe just a little bit of nerves. But we played them in National League, and we knew we could play with them.  I think you saw them dominate the first half, and you saw us really show our colors in the second half and come out with some energy. We tried to flip the coin, and I think we did that.  Winning both the National League and the National Championship feels great, a little bit exhausting but unbelievable. I mean this is a special team; this is my first Texan team.  They are an unbelievable group of kids, and we just couldn't be more excited."

The Texans' tireless winger Taylor Grant echoed her coach in pointing to both the physical preparation and the emotional closeness on the team as the cause of the turnaround, "We practiced every day for a month which would cause most teams to get farther apart and separate, but it brought our team really close. We're like a family now, and we couldn't have gotten here without each other's support…It's just different when you're playing as individuals and when you are playing as a team. The whole time we're motivating each other, and we're the type where we can say something to each other on the field and not take it off the field.  We feel that nagging at each other is not nagging; we actually think of it as helping each other.  I don't think there is any other team that's as much of a family as we are.  I can really say I love every one of these girls."

As the heat lightning blended with the glow of elated Texans' faces, all three expansions seemed to make perfect sense.

Label: Dallas Texans 93 girls, Taylor Grant, Clarissa Wedemeyer, Catherine Meyer
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